DOHA: Following the successful dialogues, the United States and the Afghan Taliban on Saturday signed the historic peace deal, marking an end to the 18-year-war in Afghanistan, ARY News reported.
US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban deputy leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar signed the agreement during a ceremony in Dohar, Qatar.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Qatari Emir and representatives from fifty countries.
Main points of the peace agreement:
- The US will start immediate troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
- All foreign troops will be withdrawn from Afghan soil.
- US, Afghan Taliban to exchange prisoners ahead of intra-Afghan talks.
- Intra-Afghan peace negotiation to commence from 10th of March.
- Taliban will ensure that Afghan soil will not be used for attacks on the US and its allies.
According to a joint declaration released minutes before the deal was signed, the US and NATO troops will withdraw from Afghanistan within 14 months.
The United States will reduce the number of US military forces in Afghanistan to 8,600 and implement other commitments in the US-Taliban agreement within 135 days of the announcement of this joint declaration and the US-Taliban agreement.
It added that the Afghan government will engage with the United Nations Security Council to remove Taliban members from sanctions list by May 29.
Addressing the ceremony, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the agreement is true test of the effort to give peace a chance.
He said it will ensure that Afghanistan never becomes a base of terrorists again. Mike Pompeo said reduction in violence is not perfect, but at least Taliban demonstrated that when they have the will to be peaceful, they can be.
He urged Taliban to sit with Afghan government to determine the course for future of Afghanistan.
Expressing his satisfaction and pleasure over the peace deal, FM Qureshi said that it could not be possible without the contribution of Pakistan.
The agreement, which could herald the start of a new era for Afghanistan after decades of conflict, is expected to also lead to a dialogue between the Kabul government and the Taliban that, if successful, could ultimately see the Afghan war wind down.
But the position of the Afghan government, which had been excluded from direct US-Taliban talks, remains unclear and the country was gripped by a fresh political crisis amid contested election results.
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